Archive for January 8th, 2011

So, you have the iPad already – or considering to get one? Should you go for an external keyboard or not? It’s time for the second part in “iPad or Macbook Air?”…

Part 2. The iPad with external keyboard

Well, as always the way you intend to use your iPad will guide you. But stay open for new means of working! So, what are the mail benefits in adding an external keyboard to the iPad? It’s already got a builtin! My major reasons:

Keyboard feel. Nothing beats a really good keyboard. The notches on both index keys F and J are my security and a reference my brain continuously is searching for when typing.

Typing Speed. Since I do not get enough “feel” from the builtin keyboard, I tend to use only my indexes when typing on the iPad. Hence – my typing speed is 3-4 times faster with an external keyboard.

Spelling error rate. Depending on your style in typing you may find different new types of spelling errors. On an ordinary keyboard I use all my fingers – on the iPad builtin only index fingers. Hence – my knuckles easily triggers the “numbers” key – creating radically new typos…

Ergononic reasons. The combination of a built-in keyboard and screen may take you into  posistions that are less good for you. An external keyboard allows you to be more flexible.

Visibility.When using an external keyboard you can vary the range to your screen – as well as adjusting your iPad for improved visibility (which may not be the ideal for typing on the builtin keyboard.

Office feeling. If you do not feel “office-like” enough, adding a keyboard and maybe a trackpad may improve your experience. (Disclaimer: I have not yet tried both bluetooth keyboard AND trackpad.

Extra keys. The builtin keyboard is missing arrow keys – but exist on an external keyboard.

Full screen display. When editing with an external keyboard – all of the surface of the iPad (or as much as the app wants) is used for interaction. Sometimes annoying – the built-in keyboard hides approx. half the screen when used in landscape mode. Less of a problem if used in portrait mode – but they you’re stuck with a smaller keyboard…
And the built-in keyboard is always only one touch away. A good thing for me as I often type in my mother tongue – Swedish – with those strange characters å, ä and ö.

Any cons with an external keyboard?

You have additional stuff to carry with you.
You may need additional protection for that keyboard (and mouse, trackpad when applicable)

That finalises my ideas of part 2 of “iPad or Macbook Air” – stay tuned for part 3 where I look in to the Air and its advantages – and a summary. I’d just LOVE to hear your comments so far!

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